We were just joking about the 5 Easy Steps, but we do think it’s time to lose the reputation you’ve been trying so hard to protect! So here’s a story by (and about) Celeste that we think will help you find your freedom instead…
One Monday morning in 8th grade, as I jogged slowly around the block with my fellow students in PE class in the small town where I grew up, one of my classmates jogged up next to me, “So, I heard you gave head to John last night in Nate’s treehouse.” Simultaneously, I felt the wind knocked out of me and my flight response kicked in full-force. I started to run as fast as I could – Looking back now, I know I was trying to run away from this image of me as a girl who would give a blowjob at a party to someone she wasn’t even really dating. Never having been any kind of jock, it was certainly the fastest I’d ever run in PE.
Nevermind that the furthest I had ever gone with a boy was a french kiss and a little touching of my breasts over the shirt. But for the sake of the rumor mill, the fact that I had breasts – really big ones for my young age combined with my flirtatious personality were enough to brand me a slut. When I first heard the news I felt a very strong need to clear up my reputation, to make sure people knew that I had done no such thing. At the same time, I was perhaps lucky to have been born in the early 70’s into a family who had fully embraced being part of the hippie counterculture. It had never been our motto to fit in or be what everyone else thought we should be. My dad was an avid stoner and, by this time, my mom had already begun her career as a Tarot reader.
And I, whether I liked it or not, was going to be seen as a slut. It didn’t take me too long to stop running and to wholeheartedly embrace the slut image. After all, I was really horney. I loved to flirt and feel people’s attraction towards me. Though I didn’t have sex with lots of guys, I started having sex relatively early and had had 5 partners by the end of high school. I also loved to make out at parties and I really, really loved dressing sexy. I liked the attention and I liked showing off my big, beautiful breasts.
There was something about losing the reputation of being a “good girl”, (something I still love to be called during sex), that also freed me up from worrying too much about being good in general. We, humans, are complex creatures, and to pretend that all of our motives and actions come from a place of love, generosity, and positive purpose is a lie. What’s more, even when we are coming from a place of love, generosity, and positive purpose, others may still see or experience what we are doing differently. They may even feel harmed by something that we are offering from this place.
The wonderful thing about losing your reputation, early and often, is that you don’t have to be shameful, or guilty, or defensive when you do something from the not-so-full-of-love-and-light part of yourself – from the childish, vindictive, or narcissistic part. And, you don’t have to defend yourself if you are doing something from a place of positive intention and someone else experiences what you’ve done as hurtful. Instead, you can “cop to it”. When you can be honest about not being perfect and you can let go of having to be seen as perfect, you get to be human and you get to be more connected.
Think about it, if you have to defend against, divorce yourself from, or hide from anyone who thinks that something about you isn’t perfect or who is harmed by your best intentions, you will spend a lot of time defending, divorcing yourself, and hiding. If, instead, you step towards people and acknowledge your imperfections and hear their pain.You may even know that they are most certainly gossiping about you behind your back and you can let go of needing that to be different because you can now walk in the world with openness. People may look at you and shake their head disapprovingly saying, “She (or he) is shameless” and you will know that they are right. Turns out being free of shame is not such a bad thing.
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